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National Anthem protests gain steam: Here's a quick timeline of the Colin Kaepernick saga

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Colin Kaepernick-style protests are spreading through the NFL and beyond. The San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback has tried to affect social change and get people talking about racial issues in America by sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem before his team's football games. 

But where did this protest start? And where's it going? The saga can be a little difficult to take in all at once. Here's a timeline of the events in the story so far, and some of the conversations Kaepernick has inspired. 

Aug. 14 and Aug. 20

What many probably don't know is that Kaepernick actually sat during earlier preseason games. No one noticed because he wasn't in uniform and didn't actually play either game.  

Mike Garofalo of the NFL network pointed this out in a tweet. 

Aug. 26

Most of us noticed Kaepernick sitting during the anthem in late august, but only after the game had already finished.

SB Nation's Jennifer Lee Chan had tweeted out a photo of the entire stadium. The story picked up steam through the night and the San Francisco 49ers finally released a statement. Everyone used Chan's photo. Just take a look at the replies on the original tweet. 

Here's Chan's tweet. 

Sept. 1

Kaepernick continued to protest into September, but was eventually joined by his teammate Eric Reid. Reid had expressed support for the protest before the game, and he kneeled down next to Kaepernick. 


Sept. 1

On the same night that Reid joined Kaepernick, another NFL player did too. 

Seattle Seahawk Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during the National Anthem, later saying he wasn't making a political statement, but simply supporting his San Francisco counterparts.  

The Associated Press photographed Lane sitting for the anthem. 

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Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels on the sideline during the National Anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Sept. 9

Denver Bronco Brandon Marshall became the first NFL protestor to kneel during the anthem before a game. 

Sept. 11

A load of the Miami Dolphins took a knee during a game staged on the anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers. They did stand for the acknowledgement of the tragedy, but that didn't stop people for criticizing them for being insensitive. 

The Dolphins wound up releasing a statement about the protest. 

Sept. 11

On the same day that the Dolphins all kneeled during the anthem before their game, the Kansas Chiefs all linked arms during the anthem before their game. Cornerback Marcus Peters even held up a fist for the duration of the song. 

The Seattle Seahawks also linked arms during the anthem. 

Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots also raised their fists during the playing of the anthem. 

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San Francisco 49ers Eric Reid (35) and Colin Kaepernick (7) take a knee during the National Anthem prior to their season opener against the Los Angeles Rams during an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in Santa Clara, CA. The Niners won 28-0. (Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini)

Sept. 12

Kaepernick and Reid continued kneeling before the game. 

Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt of the Los Angeles Rams stood with their fists raised in the air. 

Those are all the protests that have happened inside of the NFL, but has Kaepernick inspired any outside of football?

You bet he has. 

Sept. 4

Before a National Women's Soccer League game, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the National Anthem. 

After the game, she said the action was a nod to Colin Kaepernick. 

Here's Rapinoe taking a knee. 

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Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, sits, back row third from left, while her colleagues recite the Pledge of Allegiance in the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. Nasheed says her silent protest on the Senate floor was intended to show solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has kneeled for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial oppression. (AP Photo/Summer Ballentine)

Sept. 14: 

On Wednesday morning, Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed took a seat during the Pledge of Allegiance prior to the session. Nasheed said in a statement that Collin Kaepernick had inspired her protest.

I have to stay neutral, but whatever they do, I'm going to support them. That's really between that individual and their family.
Elijah Williams, high school football coach

Sept. 15

The Orange County school district in Florida required students to get parental permission to kneel during the national anthem.

The Criticism

With any protest comes criticism. And in Kaepernick's case, when it rains, it pours. 

Buckle up. 

Trent Dilfer

During Sunday's "NFL Countdown," ESPN Analyst Trent Dilfer had some incredibly harsh words for Kaepernick. 

Dilfer claimed that Kaepernick was taking the focus away from the game of football with his protests, and that his actions were probably causing disloyalty among the team (despite reports to the contrary). 

Dilfer went on to claim that Kaepernick should be quiet because he was a backup quarterback and that his role was to stay in the shadows and be quiet. 

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Here's where things get a little ridiculous. Republican lawmaker Steve King suggested on Monday that Kaepernick's anti-American attitude might have stemmed from his fiance, who, according to King, is Islamic. 

King said the protests are sympathetic to ISIS, one of the world's most infamous terror groups. 

Keep in mind, this is the same guy who said that Christians had contributed more to Western society than any other group. Moving on. 

Kate Upton

Upton criticized athletes after watching them protest on 9/11. 

Roger Goodell

So where does the NFL stand? Well Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that he doesn't agree with what Kaepernick is doing, but he also said that he supports his players trying to change wrongs they see in society, according to the Associated Press.

He's being a little dodgy on the subject. And that's led to some seeing him as criticizing the quarterback while others think he's supporting the protests. 

The Military

A common criticism of Kaepernick's protest is that he's anti-American and anti-military, despite the fact that he's repeatedly said he loves his country, and that's precisely the reason he wants to see it change. 

Apparently, many members of the military feel the same way, and the support for Kaepernick from troops overseas has poured in via Twitter and other social networks. 

Not all agree with the 49er, but say they fight to support his rights nonetheless. 

Others are clear about what they're fighting for. 

Some are adamant they fight to protect freedom, not a musical symbol. 

What do you think?

So that's where we're at for now. But more athletes, state senators, etc. could follow Kaepernick's lead. 

What do you think about Kaepernick's protests?

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